Famous military quotes

 In General

Over the centuries there have been hundreds of famous and inspiration quotes attributed to military and/or political leaders – here (in no particular order) are a few of my favourites. Please feel free to add yours too!


The nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards, and its fighting done by fools. Thucydides, 5th century BC

The dominant feeling of the battlefield is loneliness. Field Marshall William Slim, June 1941

Alexander (The Great) may have had many difficult allies, but he never had the Dutch!  The Duke of Marlborough

The object of war is not to die for your country but to make the other bastard die for his. General George S. Patton, US Army

It’s probably nothing. Radar operator at Pear Habour

A General who has never been defeated can’t have been at his business very long. Henri de la Tour d’Auvergne, Vicomte de Turenne, (1611-1675)

The tactical result of an engagement forms the base for new strategic decisions because victory or defeat in a battle changes the situation to such a degree that no human acumen is able to see beyond the first battle. Field Marshall Helmuth on Moltke (1800-1891)

There seems to be something wrong with our bloody ships today. Admiral David Beatty during the Battle of Jutland, 1916

Retreat? Hell, we just go here! Captain Lloyd W. Williams, United States Marine Corps, 1st June 1918

It became necessary to destroy the town to save it. Unknown American officer. Vietnam.

Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. Sir Winston Churchill, 20th August 1940

My fame, if Providence preserves my life, will consist in … works of peace, which I still intend to create. Adolf Hitler, speech in Berlin, January 1942

Son, only a pimp in a Louisiana whore house carries pearl handled revolvers, these are ivory. General George S. Patton after being asked where he got his ‘pearl’ handled revolvers.

I can’t understand it, I left a thousand men here. Lord Chelmsford returning to Isandlwana following the battle, 1879.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Napoleon Bonaparte

When a thing is done, it’s done. Don’t look back. Look forward to your next objective. General George C. Marshall

I’d rather go down the river with seven studs than with a hundred shit heads. Colonel ‘Chargin” Charlie Beckwith

My centre is giving way, my right is retreating, situation excellent, I am attacking. General Ferdinand Foch, message sent during the first battle of the Marne, September 1914

Gentlemen, we’re following a carrot and stick approach… If they don’t take the carrot, we’ll stick it up their ass! General Stormin’ Norman Schwarzkopf

What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog. General Dwight D. Eisenhower

Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition. Chaplain Howell Forgy, USS New Orleans, Pearl Harbor, 7th December 1941

My heart is broken by the terrible loss I have sustained in my old friends and companions and my poor soldiers. Believe me, nothing except a battle lost can be half so melancholy as a battle won. The Duke of Wellington after the Battle of Waterloo


There are many, many more… feel free to use the comments field below to add your favourites!

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